Review Index

Biyang RV-10

Biyang RV-10 Tri Reverb

I have to admit that, having been disappointed with - or underwhelmed by - practically every guitar reverb pedal I've ever used, which includes several expensive/boutique pedals, I really didn't expect much from The Biyang RV-10. My preconceptions turned out to be well wide of the mark.

The Tri Reverb has a very basic feature set: three modes (Hall, Spring and Room), with two variations for each (A and B) and finally, blend and time controls. The build quality seems fine - although only time will tell on that score.

How does it sound?

In a word: excellent.

The sounds from the Tri Reverb are on a par with those from many rack processors and plugins I've used. It's really - and I mean really - quiet; I haven't noticed any extra noise whatsoever.

True, the Spring mode is hardly authentic or believable, but it's still a good sound in its own right. The longest settings (in Hall mode) maybe aren't quite long enough for those of you who make ambient music, but they do verge on being cavernous as far as I'm concerned.

What I really like, is that it actually sounds good when combined with distortion/fuzz: it neither changes the tonality of the distortion,nor does it swamp your distorted tones; I can quite happily have a nice wet reverb sound for cleans, kick on a fuzz and it still sounds 'right'. I often find reverb can wash out fuzz and distortion, or seem like too much so I always have to make compromises on settings. Not with the RV-10.

For what these pedals cost and how good they sound, you'd be silly to ignore it if you're in the market for a simple reverb pedal.


Colorsound Tremolo pedal from 1977:
They're very rarely seen in the wide-case format.
In typically quirky style, note the use of both "Tremolo" and "Tremelo" spellings!

Danelectro Cool Cat and Tuna Melt

Danelectro CT-1 Cool Cat Tremolo
(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)

Very simple and straightforward.

The Cool Cat Tremolo goes about its business in a very workmanlike way, offering a choice of two waveforms (hard or soft), with a decent range across its settings. Worth noting is that the Depth control is disabled (and fixed at 100%) in the (hard) square wave mode.

If you're only an occasional tremolo user, the CT-1 is still worth a look and it is very hard to beat on price.

Some people don't like the aesthetics of the Cool Cat pedals, but I happen to think they're OK - they definitely look better in person than in pictures. Besides, the way a pedal looks should be way down your list of priorities!

Danelectro DJ-5 Tuna Melt Tremolo
(Discofreq’s Effects Database page.)

Essentially the same in features and performance as the Cool Cat Tremolo. Some people complain about the small, fiddly controls, and that it's hard to see where the controls are set; neither are complaints that I share.

So, like the Cool Cat - and reliability worries aside (see below) - this remains a good choice for those with occasional tremolo needs, or who don't need a feature-laden pedal. The low price makes it an even more attractive proposition.

Reliability worries?

Detractors often comment upon the plastic (part of the) casing, but, in my experience, these pedals should hold up just fine so long as they are treated with respect.

My main concern (long-term) would be with regards to the PCB-mounted jacks. Over time - for a variety of reasons - it is possible that the jacks will develop problems. These problems are easily fixed, but will still be an unwelcome inconvenience for many guitarists.

While I would say there is very little between the Cool Cat and Tuna Melt pedals, I would perhaps lean towards the Cool Cat as the better option if given a straight choice. Just because the extra ruggedness afforded by the all-metal enclosure and chassis-mounted jacks would give me more confidence in its longevity.